Until recently, Zhenli Ye Gon was a Chinese-born businessman who lived quietly in one of Mexico City’s most exclusive neighborhoods. Today, report McClatchy Newspapers, he is an international fugitive, accused of supplying Mexican drug cartels with tons of chemicals used to flood the U.S. with methamphetamine. When Mexican agents raided his Mediterranean-style mansion in March, they discovered $205 million in U.S. currency. All cash. Mostly $100 bills.
Ye Gon collected luxury cars, kept mistresses in various countries and gambled as a high roller in Las Vegas. Highly addictive methamphetamine has been a growing drug problem for the past decade throughout the U.S., particularly in smaller cities and rural areas. Authorities have taken many unusual steps to crack down on it, including limiting sales of over-the-counter cold medications that contain the ingredients that can be used in its manufacture. As U.S. law enforcement cracked down on domestic production of meth, more of the drug began flowing from Mexico, prompting a Mexican crackdown on the sale and importation of pseudoephedrine, the cold-medicine ingredient key to meth’s manufacture. In 2004, the Mexican government imposed limits on how much pseudoephedrine companies could import annually. Mexican and U.S. officials fear that Ye Gon’s case shows that the flow of the chemical remains unabated.